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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Happy Birthday Dear Tate


Tate,
Today you are six.  I can hardly believe it.  We are 1/3 of the way done with your childhood.  I am so excited for you, but in a way I am also in mourning for myself.  Your baby days have been gone for a long time, your toddler time is also long gone, but I’m just getting over the fact that you aren’t even a preschooler anymore.  You’re now a boy. 

Just in the past couple of months I’ve watched you dive into boyhood.  You learned how to ride a two-wheeled bike, you’re learning to read, you play baseball better than anyone I’ve ever seen at your age.  You’re learning Spanish, memorizing Bible verses, learning to write and tell jokes.  I love listening to you talk, although sometimes I (ashamedly) forget that you’re old enough to have preferences and favorites…I guess a part of me wants to keep you in the baby stage where I get to do life for you.  I am sorry about that.  I love the boy you are and I love seeing you develop confidence in who God has created you to be and I am deeply sorry if I ever get in the way of that. 

Some things about five…you love cheetahs, the color red (and blue), the movie Cars (more than Cars 2 because Cars one has more racing), the Mariners and anything baseball related, Wild Kratts, Bernstain Bears, spinach, carrots and most kinds of meat.  Just the other day you ate a bunch of gallo pinto and you were so proud of yourself.  You went around to every boy at the table flexing your bicep to show them how strong the beans made you.

I am in awe of how quickly you’ve adjusted to life in Nicaragua.  It was a rough first month but you made it and now you are thriving.  I love listening to you speak in Spanish and I love hearing you make jokes.

I really believe this will be a great year for you.  I am excited to see how you develop and grow into the person God has called you to be.  Tate, I love you more and more each day, and I am so proud to be your mom.  You are the apple of my eye, the exclamation point in my sentence and the sprinkles on my sundae.  Life with you is always black and white-never gray! You are a wonderful, sensitive and compassionate little boy and I am so proud to call you my own.  Keep seeking after God, my love.  He loves you more than I can even express, and I am so thankful that he chose to lend you to us. 

I love you, Tate.  I hope you have a wonderful birthday.

Love,
Mom 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Off Again

Again, I have let too long to by without an update.

So, what's been going on the Stearns' house?

Well...

  • We move out of our house in a little less than a month.  That's terrifying and exciting. 
  • I subbed at Tate's school one day a week ago.  It was really fun to see him in that environment!
  • I was sick for about 10 days with a nasty cold.  My voice was very low and raspy.  LT W called it my old man voice. 
  • We went white water rafting for the first time!  My dad won a trip at an auction so it was freeeeeee for us.  That's the perfect price on our unemployment budget. 
  • We have loads of stuff sitting in the garage, ready for our next garage sale. 
  • I got rid of five boxes of memories/memorabilia.  It was bittersweet. 
  • This weekend LT W is going to San Diego with the Navy, so I am in Snohomish.  I'm going to a wedding, Sesame Street Live and when LT W gets back, we're heading to the Mariner's game (free tickets, a total blessing!)
That's pretty much where we are these days.  I wish I could kick the last of this cold, but it's happy hanging on.  

We do have some pretty exciting news Nicaragua wise.  CLICK HERE to check out what's going on!

Happy Friday!

Peace and love, 
Jenni 


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Doin' it!

It's May 2nd.

I haven't been so great about working out, but I have worked out twice this week.  At least it's something.

And as far as getting dressed and being productive, I've been doing that well!  I have gotten dressed and put on makeup every day this week *taking a bow*  I know, I know.  Amazing.

We watched Madagascar this weekend.  It was hilarious and I loved it.  On the way home (we stayed at the beach this weekend with some great friends) I thought it would be fun to look into seeing Madagascar 2.  I looked on Amazon and saw that it was $2.99 to rent.  It was worth it to me, but I thought it would be cool to find it for free.

I went to Amazon and saw a deal and took advantage of it, and I got a $3 movie credit.  I love it when God does that, gives you something you don't need, but something you'd like and think your kids will enjoy!

Anyway, we went to the zoo today and had fun.  We all had fun.

If you're interested, www.livelovenicaragua.com is our website for what we're doing in Nicaragua.

Have a great day!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dressing up a bit


I've never been a "have it all together-looking" kind of gal. 

Many days, the picture above is as good as it gets.  
Seriously. 

I'm not good at getting regular hair cuts, and I am even worse at regularly wearing makeup. 

And to be completely honest, I'm OK with that. 

But. 

I'm going to try and change a bit. 

Not that I'm going to get any more high maintenance, but I think that perhaps if I get up and put on more than a tank top and sweatshirt I will be more productive. 

Productivity is going to be necessary in the coming weeks, as we're moving forward with our upcoming international move.  And lately as I've been struggling with a bit of anxiety also, I think it's a good time to make sure that I'm "up and at 'em" so to speak. 

So, to that end, I'm going to attempt to actually do more than just a pony tail in my hair every day in May. 

I will put on make up 5 days out of 7. 

I will work out for three days, then take a day off. 

I will be productive. 



Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Black Mambas.

Even before today I really didn't like snakes.  Now that they are impeding my ability to sleep I am prone toward hatred. 


Tate studied snakes in school today.  Now he is officially terrified of them.  More specifically, terrified of Black Mambas.  The fear isn't rational, and struggling with anxiety myself I can totally relate to that.  Regardless of how many maps we look at and how many official sites we find talking about the natural habitat of the snakes, Tate is still terrified. 

You see, anxiety isn't based in reality, it's based on a sliver of truth.  When struggling with anxiety you start brushing the truth aside for 'what ifs' and it's all downhill from there. 

Anyway, back to tonight.  I have the dogs sleeping with Tate.  Small dogs are excellent at killing snakes.  Tate knows this.  He's still terrified.  

Adding to the fun, Tate can't pronounce "Black Mamba".  He says instead, "Black MAMA."  This is particularly concerning when he utters phrases like, "I really don't like Black Mambas" or something similar.  You get the idea.  We probably won't be leaving the house until this is under control.  However, you're welcome to visit. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Opening Day 2012







We love this tradition and will certainly miss it.  We are brainstorming ways to make Opening Day special next year when we won't be able to go to Safeco.  At this point the ideas have included making our own garlic fries, watching the game online and wearing all of our M's gear.  We'll have to take a picture in some other location, so I'll be scouting that out early on...I want to find some place that we can go every year for the pic.

Theo started puking early the next morning.  I think it may have been due to him rolling around on the ground under the chairs at the ballpark.  Our Parenting of the Year Nomination came when LT W turned to me and said, "Do you think we should make him get up off the floor?"  I responded, "Well, I'm sure we should but he's playing so nicely down there I'd rather just let him play. What do you think?"  After pondering a moment, LT W said, "It's the cleanest it's going to be all year, so we might as well just let him play."

The Mariners lost, which was a bummer.  We did get to see Erasmo Ramirez introduced so that was awesome!  (He's a rookie pitcher from Nicaragua).  Tate has decided that he's going to write to Erasmo and Felix in Spanish and he is very excited about it.  So far he has a couple of pictures he's colored ready to send.

Happy Baseball Season!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Back to Routines

Spring Break is over.  It was so much fun, I felt like I was able to find the balance between getting stuff done but still having fun and relaxing.  I tend to be an extreme personality, so one or the other is easy for me but both is really difficult.

In order to make it happen I made a list of what I wanted to accomplish, made a list for the boys (they got to pick a chore out of a hat.  My goal was to have them to it everyday and it ended up being three days out of five, so eh...) and a list for Mark.  We each worked from our list to get our stuff done.  I think just about everything ended up getting done.

I also made sure to be flexible.  We didn't originally plan to go to Pump it Up with friends, but since the opportunity presented itself I decided to go.  This is so not me, usually I'm a plan and go kind of girl, but I thought it sounded fun so I allowed myself the flexibility.  It was wonderful and I hope that I can continue to allow this flexibility in my life.

Another thing we focused on was having fun at home.  This is also where the chores came in.  The boys would do their chores so that friends could come over and have fun.  It wasn't a 100% solution to end the whining/complaining, but it was encouraging that the boys were able to grasp and complete project so that we could have friends over.

We had a family movie night where we watched Puss in Boots.  Theo called it "Piss on Boots" which cracked us up.  He has no idea it was inappropriate, but he did notice that it got a lot of laughs, so we'll need to be careful about that.  He'll do anything for attention!

So that was that.  Spring break was awesome, and I hope to be able to duplicate it next year.  Now we're back to the regularly scheduled programing.  I hope your Spring break was/is/will be awesome!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Spring Break!

This is our first real Spring Break.  I guess since Tate only attends school three times a week it's not even a real one, but still, we're taking it for what it is.

We had no plans other than getting some stuff done around the house, but after being invited to Pump it Up JR with the boys on Monday, I decided that we should spend the week doing fun things, not just chores.  Every day I have tried to find cheap and fun things we can do together.

As I mentioned, Monday the boys and I went to Pump it Up JR with some friends.  The boys ran around for three solid hours and played.  It was wonderful.  I allowed them to skip naps and they slept soundly that night!

Yesterday we had a play-date at our house that consisted of a TON of dress up.  The boys loved it!  It was so much fun to hear them all laughing and giggling.  I think it reminded the boys that they have some really neat dress up things, too.  Last night we had pizza for dinner which is always a huge hit!

Today Theo and I had a play-date while Tate got to go on a Tate and Daddy date.  I believe they went to the junk yard to pull an engine part (and Tate LOVED it!) and McD's for lunch.  Tonight we're watching Puss in Boots for our Family Movie Night.

Tomorrow (shhhhh!) we're going bowling.

Friday we're going swimming.


This is Tate doing his Spring Break homework, taken by Theo. 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Better

Theo is better, which means I am better, too.  It took a few days for him to finally turn the corner but he's now back to his usual, ornery self.  I'm ecstatic!

Tate is doing well, also.  We woke up to a couple inches of snow this morning so we played outside for about an hour.  It was so fun, even though I hate being cold.


And, some big (or little, however you want to look at it) news. 

Today I hit the 10 lb mark for weight loss!  That means that I have "won" the challenge and my name will go in the hat for the prizes!  I'm thrilled!  Not only that, but my clothes are fitting better, too, which is a reward in and of itself. 

Thanks for your prayers and encouraging words last week.  It was a long one and we appreciate you!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Theo...

My poor three year old is sick with pneumonia.  He hasn't slept well in about 5 days and is coughing a ton. Finally the cough is productive, so we're hopeful that he's on the upswing.  He's still a bit feverish though, and we're all pretty exhausted.

If you think of it, please pray for us.  This tired mama is about to collapse from exhaustion.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Swimming lessons


The smell of chlorine has officially entered the house again. 
This time, though, it's not clinging for dear life to my pores.  
It's clinging to Tate!



I've been pretty amazed at how well he listens and follows instructions.  He's made a ton of progress in only five lessons.  In fact, he's already floating on his back!


It is very important to me that our boys be safe in the water.  They don't have to swim competitively, but I want them to be safe.  The fact that Tate can float on his back alone is a huge step in that direction.  Next he'll be working on flipping from front to back.  At that point I will breathe just a *bit* easier when he's around water.  Of course he's always in a lifejacket until he can pass a swimming test, but still.  

I'm one proud mom!







Monday, February 27, 2012

Happy (Almost) Birthday Theo!

Three years ago today I was awaiting the birth of Theo.  I had my epidural and was trying to rest.  I can't believe he's almost three!


I love you, Theo!  You bring laughter and joy into our home and we are so thankful for you.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Finding a Goal

A couple of months ago I could honestly say that it had been about a year since exercise was a regular part of my life.  And it showed, not only in my pants size but in my general health levels as well.

Now, I can honestly say that I'm getting back into shape.  I don't get out of breath when I'm walking up hill.  In fact, Tate and I walk to school on a regular basis, and it's about two miles daily.  While I only worked out once last week, this week I worked out five times.  In the past two months I have had an average of four workouts per week.  This is progress!

But I'm starting to get bored.  Last week I was busy and didn't workout, this week I had no motivation.  I did workout, but it wasn't exciting.

So I'm looking for a program.  I think I'm going to do a Body for Life type of plan.  Probably not the eating, necessarily, but at least the workouts.  Hopefully that will help my motivation level for exercising.  I do well with goals and the goal to lose weight isn't enough.  As much as I love training for something, I have found that my training weight isn't my optimal weight (I gained a bit of weight marathon training and I believe I needed it, but I didn't feel my best).  So the plan is to find a set workout plan to cross the workouts off my list.  I'll let you know how that goes!

That said, I have lost 5 pounds since I started the challenge, so something must be working!


And, because I love you I'll share my favorite valentines day picture:


You're welcome :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Epic Fail

Turn off the TV week lasted about three days.

Then LT W got sick and it was just over.

EPIC FAIL.

But, the good thing that came from it is that the kids are much less demanding about TV, and we're back to using it as a tool to get stuff done, not just a time waster.

That's progress, right?

Monday, February 13, 2012

Turning off the TV

We are turning off the TV this week for the boys.  It's day one hour one and I can honestly say up until about three minutes ago I regretted my decision.  Theo woke up and wanted to watch cartoons and I told him no.

And he screamed.

But, after a few minutes he was distracted.  Then he wanted TV again.  Ooh, there he is distracted again.  It's been about 57 minutes of that.

UNTIL Tate woke up.  Now they are playing together upstairs.  I hear meowing so I believe it's some kind of cat game.  I love hearing them imagine together.

I may go crazy this week, but at least for now the boys are actively engaged together in something fun.

That's a win in my book.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Picking battles


Theo fell asleep with popcorn and Mara last night.  

I just wasn't up to fighting that battle last night, so I didn't. 

Confession:  Theo sleeps like me.  He's a smotherer. 


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Recovery

Whew!  First day of Bible study is over and it went really well.  Such a relief!  Thanks for your prayers.

Yesterday I took a rest day from working out.  I've been so sore and tired lately that I think I needed it.  Tuesday was a pretty relaxed day also and I had plans to exercise yesterday but as the day progressed I was still tired and sore.  I'm happy that I chose to rest, I think the new regimen that I'm in is doing me in!  Today I will be back at the gym for a good cardio workout.

Yesterday Theo was playing with his friend before Bible study started and his friend's mom was bending over a table writing something.  Theo runs by and smacked her on the butt.  Totally mortifying for me.  Luckily she was a good sport about it, her daughter went through the same phase.  Still, very embarrassing.

Speaking of funny and embarrassing, here are some of the things the boys have said lately:

****
Tate found a bunch of my trophies and medals from high school in the attic. He now thinks I'm the coolest mom ever. 


Today he said: "Mom, I think I'm just going to call you my Trophy Mom." 
****


It was bed time, and I was snuggling a little bit with Theo before going downstairs.

Me: Theo, I'm going downstairs now, goodnight. I love you.
Theo: Mom, your hair is just so beautiful. (whispering) You're just like a princess!

Yeah. I stayed longer. Seriously, he's two years old and already knows how to sweet talk the ladies!
****
Mark: Theo, you're the best!
Theo: No!  I'm not!  Mommy is!
****
It's 10:30 pm and Theo is still going strong. 

Me: Theo, how on earth are you still awake?  When did you become a night owl?
Theo:  I don't know, but you're welcome!
*****
Theo: Dear Jesus, thank you for this day.  Please help Tate not get hurt.  Thank you for the  HEY!  I WANT SOME CHEESE!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A New Step

A couple of years ago I stepped out and did my first Bible study in Spanish.  Since then I've done another one in Spanish and tomorrow begins a new chapter for me as I take a huge step forward.

Tomorrow, by the grace of God, I will begin leading my first Bible study in Spanish.

I'm scared out of my mind and really don't feel up to the challenge.  However, since this is an opportunity I wasn't seeking out, since it's a relatively short term commitment and I will be able to finish it, and mostly because as I prayed about it I had peace, I'm going to do it.

But I'm still terrified.

I know I'll make a ton of mistakes.  But that's OK.  The ladies that I will be studying with will forgive me I'm sure [and if they aren't happy about it, they can step up and lead!].  God has brought me here, he will sustain me through it.

But, if you think about it tomorrow at 9:30, shoot up a prayer for me please.  I'm going to be nervous!

Love,
Jenni

Monday, February 6, 2012

A whole lotta lots

We've had a busy month!  It seems as the move to Nicaragua gets closer, the less free time I have.  We're not actually packing yet, but we do hope to move in June.  We'll see how that goes!

LT W is in school now.  Having the GI Bill to use has been a life saver.  He's attending at Portland Bible College and is working on basic Bible classes that can be used toward another bachelor's degree or possibly a masters.  I think the best use for it now, though, is him gaining knowledge of the Bible since you know, we're going to be missionaries or something.

Theo is smack in the middle of potty training.  We have good days and bad days, but most days are good.  He's been extra clingy this week so I'm trying to take advantage of that by making him spend a lot of time on the potty.  We've read lots of good books in there!

Tate's loving preschool.  And running.  I have no idea where his love for running comes from because it did not come from me.  I have run a marathon but I did it for the challenge and for the company, not because I actually enjoy the running.  But he does so I guess that's good for him!

I hope you're all doing well!

Love,
Jenni

Monday, January 9, 2012

10 Pound Challenge

Erika over at Newlyweds on a Budget has issued a challenge.  And since I'm always up for a competition and free stuff, I've decided to join.

There are a ton of cool prizes, but the best is going to be feeling like my clothes fit again!

Go here to enter for yourself!  Good luck!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Here we go!

I love January.

I like the idea of starting over and really prioritizing my life.  LT W and I are back on the workout wagon to try and lose the pounds that we managed to put on in 2011.  It's kind of interesting, if you look at pictures over the past 10 years of my life, you can tell how my life was going by my hair and my weight.  Heavier indicates contentment, slimmer points to stress.  As far as hair, just about every major life change has involved a new hair do.  It seems that when I lose control of my life, I enjoy changing my hair drastically.  I think it's because I feel like I still have control of that area.

Every deployment we've gone through has been marked with a hair change.

So has every birth.

And every move.

I've had several hair styles and colors and I've enjoyed each of them, even if it was simply because I chose it.

A recent weight example:


Korea: Fairly thin.  I was under a lot of stress in Korea, and missed home and friends terribly.  My smile isn't really reaching my eyes. 

This year at home, dancing around with the boys.  Heavy and happy.  Enjoying life.  

I'd love to be able to get a handle on both at the same time.  Happy, relatively unstressed (realistically I know this isn't in the cards for us...we're going to be moving internationally this year but still, I can find peace in the center of that, right?) and healthy. 

I know that the foundation for losing weight has to stem from a healthy frame of mind.  I'm getting healthy to be happy, to give my best, to take care of myself and my family.  My motivation can't be to control the image I'm projecting or even to fit into my skinny jeans again (even though I am really looking forward to that).  If my motivation is wrong then I will yo yo again when I'm not stressed.  

So this year, while I am doing the cliche New Years Resolution of losing weight and getting healthy, I'd like to think that it's more than that.  It's losing weight and getting healthy while focusing on my motivation and keeping my motivation healthy. 

Let's go!